Porsche 918 Vs McLaren P1 at Laguna Seca


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Right now, as you are probably aware, the current crop of hypercars that has everyone buzzing are the hybrids from Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche. However, there haven’t been too many comparison tests done with raw performance numbers to determine which is fastest. On paper, it seems that the LaFerrari is the fastest, but that cannot be confirmed until someone takes all three cars and tests them around a track. Slowly though, some comparisons are starting to hit the web. The latest one is brought to us by MotorTrend and it puts the McLaren P1 against Porsche 918 Spyder at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and the results are quite interesting.

To refresh, each one of these monstrous machines has a different philosophy on how the hybrid systems work to make the car faster. The McLaren P1 is a RWD beast powered by a twin-turbo charged 3.8L V8 coupled with an electric motor to give a combined output of 904 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. When considering it’s weight of 3,411 pounds, you can imagine how brutal the acceleration is. When in Race mode, the car sits 2 inches lower than normal, raises the wing up 11.8 inches, and roll stiffness increases to about 350%. All this gives the net effect of 1,323 lbs of downforce at 161mph. This all stacks up well, in theory, to the Porsche.

Though the McLaren seems to have the Porsche when it comes to raw numbers, The 918 Spyder has the advantage in grip with it’s advanced drivetrain system.  With rear wheel steering and torque vectoring all wheel drive, the Porsche has a better time putting down all of its 887 combined horsepower and 994 lb-ft of combined torque. The mid-mounted  4.6L naturally aspirated V8 is supplemented by two electric motors; one on the rear axle, and one in the front. Though weighing in at a rather hefty 3,758 lbs, it is about 350 lbs heavier than the P1.

Motor Trend had their resident racing driver, Randy Pobst, take both cars around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with their data recording equipment and some cameras. After recording several laps in both cars, the Porsche 918 Spyder came out the winner with a record lap time of 1:29.89 mph and a top speed of 153.7 mph down Laguna Seca’s back straight. Interestingly, the McLaren P1 has a laptime of 1:30.71 and a higher top speed of 155.5 mph. This reflects on the fact that the McLaren is faster in a straight line but the Porsche has better grip coming in and out of corners. Also important to note is that MotorTrend decided to use the tires that are supplied at the time of purchase. This means that the Porsche had Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s and the McLaren had Pirelli P Zero Trofeo Rs, which came heat cycled. This outcome probably has a lot of people talking since on paper the Porsche looked to be slower. This just goes to show that raw stats aren’t everything.

You can read the full test here

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